UCI Bilateral Exchange Programs

Outbound Students (UCI Students Going Abroad)

What is a UCI Bilateral Exchange Program?

A bilateral exchange program consists of a reciprocal opportunity established by an agreement between UC Irvine and a partner university overseas to facilitate student mobility between the two institutions during a specific term. In a bilateral exchange program, selected UCI students attend a foreign university while maintaining their full-time enrollment status at UCI, and remain eligible for all financial aid and scholarships. At the same time, selected students from the same foreign university stay enrolled at their institutions but attend UCI.

Why choose a bilateral program?

UCI offers you the unique opportunity to study at different institutions abroad at no additional tuition cost or loss of credit. When you participate in a bilateral exchange program, you remain fully enrolled at UCI, pay tuition only to UCI while living in a different geographic location, and have access to other usual financial aid.

On a UCI Bilateral Exchange program, you will be eligible to receive transfer credit only. This means that only the host institution name and total units will be posted on your UCI transcript. The titles and grades will appear on the transcript provided by the host institution. Grades will not average into your UCI GPA, regardless of grade. 

Once a transcript is received, Undergraduate Admissions will determine which courses are UC transferable and provide the assessment to the Registrar.

For those courses determined to be transferable it will be the responsibility of the appropriate academic department to determine: 

  1. Whether a course is equivalent to a major or general education requirement, or 
  2. If the course will simply be applied to the minimum 180 quarter units needed to graduate. 

Departments will post course equivalencies on the student’s degree audit where appropriate so that students can see how their transfer coursework is applied to the degree. 

Use the academic planning form to help work with your academic counselor to determine the type of courses you should take abroad in order to complete your degree on time, as well as receive transfer credit.

UCI seeks to provide UCI students with the resources they need to build a continuum of care to support their health, safety, and well-being while on a UCI exchange program. While abroad, UCI students will generally have access to up to three categories of insurance: UC Travel Insurance, your domestic health insurance policy, and any in-country or program-specific insurance policies required or provided by the program or host country. UCI students may want to work with insurance providers in advance of travel to identify healthcare providers in their overseas destinations. Because healthcare systems and resources vary widely around the world, it is important for students to work with their healthcare providers on and off campus, their program administrators, as well as their insurance companies to build a network of support while abroad. Visit the UCI Study Abroad Center Health & Safety Page for details

Financial Aid eligibility criteria are the same when you participate in a bilateral exchange program or when studying at UCI. 

Note: in order to receive financial aid you must receive transfer credit and be making progress towards your degree. You cannot receive aid if you have already met your degree requirements for graduation.

Sources of aid and procedures vary depending on the study abroad program option you choose.  We invite you to review and carefully consider the information on the Study Abroad Scholarships webpage when selecting a program abroad.

If you have questions about your individual financial aid eligibility, contact a Financial Aid Counselor in the Financial Aid Office at eapfa@uci.edu

When you apply for a bilateral exchange program, your application is screened and nominated directly from the Study Abroad Center to your host institution. This means there’s no middleman standing in the way of your global adventure, allowing for direct communication with the host institution and advocacy every step of the way. 

We’re looking for passionate anteaters who are excited about cultural immersion and learning, all while showing deep respect for the host culture.


How and When to Apply?

Search for the program using the keyword “bilateral” in the UCIAbroad portal. There you will access the application, and choose the host institution of your preference.

To participate in a UCI Bilateral Exchange program, students must always follow these 2 steps.

  • Request UCI campus approval in UCIAbroad portal
Fall 2024, Academic Year 2024-202511/01/20232/15/2024
Winter and Spring 2025 abroad 11/01/20238/15/2024
  • Submit your program’s application. Students will receive detailed instructions on how to submit their program’s application once they have completed the UCI campus approval request.

Our Global Partners

Are you ready to be a global ambassador for UCI and the USA? If so, you might be the right candidate for a bilateral exchange program. The Study Abroad Center is seeking exchange students who are mature, independent, self-motivated, and eager to embrace new cultures.

We are committed to facilitating opportunities with partners overseas that support our Anteaters’ goal of succeeding in today’s competitive global environment. You may apply to the program that best meets your academic and career goals. 

Korea University (KU)

Korea University

Country or area → Korea, South

City → Seoul

Class level → So, Jr and Sr.

Students must have completed at least 2 quarters at UCI by the time of application.

Minimum GPA → 2.5 or higher

Term → Fall term (Sept-Dec) Spring term (March-June)

Taught → English and Korean

Language Prerequisites → No

Back in 1905, when Lee Young-Ik founded the first university in Korea funded and administered solely by Koreans; he never imagined that a century later, Korea University (KU) would become one of the top private universities in Seoul, and home of 33,000 students from all parts of the Asian nation and the world.

If your idea of studying abroad includes a campus of over 182 acres in the heart of Seoul, including 18 colleges and divisions, 18 graduate schools, and a vibrant international population of more than 4K students, then you should take a look at the information here. 

*Info adapted from https://www.topuniversities.com/universities/korea-university 

Kyung Hee University (KHU)

Korea University

Country or area → Korea

City → Seoul

Class level → So, Jr and Sr.

Students must have completed at least 2 quarters at UCI by the time of application.

Minimum GPA → 3.0 or higher

Term → AY, Fall term (Sept – Dec), Spring term (March – June)

Taught → English

Language Prerequisites → No

Since its founding in 1949, Kyung Hee University (KHU) has sought after the spirit of “Scholarship and Peace” as well as the founding principle of “creating a civilized world.” The University has developed remarkably ever since, contributing to the fulfillment of a “Cultural World for Humanity” as the leader of the future of academics and the creator of common values for humanity.

Pursuing “Global Eminence” on a foundation of academic excellence, Kyung Hee University awaits you with a beautiful campus surrounded by scenic cherry blossoms and nice architecture.

Want to know more about KHU? Download the KHU brochure.

*Info adapted from: https://www.khu.ac.kr/eng/sub/content.do?MENU_SEQ=1000570

Killam Fellowship

Korea University

Country or area → Canada

City → Multiple destinations in Canada

Class level → UCI undergraduate sophomores (graduating in 2025) or juniors (graduating in 2024) at the time of application.

Minimum GPA → 2.5 or higher

Term → AY, Fall quarter and Spring Semester (both winter and spring quarters abroad)

Taught → English

Language Prerequisites → No

The Killam Fellowship Program is a consortium of Institutions of higher education in the United States of America and in Canada. The program facilitates undergraduate students’ mobility for either one semester or a full academic year at a participating partner institution.

Killam Fellowship allows you to participate in the program through direct exchange, meaning that you’ll be enrolled at UCI, pay UCI fees, and attend the host university as an exchange visitor. In addition, the UCI Scholarship Opportunities Program (SOP) offers advising and nomination for students interested in getting an additional award for participating in this program either for one semester or a whole academic year.

Does the Killam Fellowship Program sound like a good fit for you? Book a virtual appointment with Alma Reynal, Inbound and Custom Program Advisor for more information.

National Cheng Kung University (NCKU)

National Cheng Kung University (NCKU)

Country or area → Taiwan

City → Tainan

Class level → So, Jr and Sr.

Students must have completed at least 2 quarters at UCI by the time of application.

Minimum GPA 2.5 or higher

Term → Academic Year, Fall semester (mid-Sept ~ mid-January)  Spring semester (mid-Feb ~late June)

Taught → English and Chinese

Language Prerequisites → No

Upon the motto of “Pursuit of truth through exhaustive reasoning,” NCKU University has been widely recognized as a leading university in Taiwan. In fact, it ranked fourth in Taiwan according to the QS World University Rankings 2023 and in the top 50 in the QS Asia University Rankings 2022

NCKU has a solid foundation in engineering that has expanded into the liberal arts and sciences, offering comprehensive courses through 43 undergraduate programs, 36 independent graduate institutes, and nine colleges, including courses taught entirely in English.

A well connected multicampus university linked by Tainan Railway Station and the Shalun rail line which offers their almost 3k international students fascinating backstreets and historic buildings throughout Tainan, as well as the traditional local eats which are particularly popular with students. 

Interested in finding out more about NCKU? Click here

*Info adapted from: https://www.topuniversities.com/universities/national-cheng-kung-university-ncku 

The UCI Global Engagement Office and the Department of East Asian Studies are pleased to announce two scholarship opportunities to study the language of Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan  during summer 2024 at the highly acclaimed National Cheng-Kung University (NCKU). Students can choose to apply for one or both of the following scholarships to cover the cost of participating in the program. Ten awards are available for each scholarship.

If you want to learn more, review our YouTube channel or contact the Faculty Leader for this program Professor. Ruohmei Hsieh.

University of Tsukuba

Korea University

Country or area → Japan

City → Tsukuba

Class level → So, Jr and Sr.

Students must have completed at least 2 quarters at UCI by the time of application.

Minimum GPA → 2.5 or higher

Term → Fall term (Oct – Dec), Spring term (April-July)

Taught → English

Language Prerequisites → No

The University of Tsukuba was established in 1973 with an aim to enable an open and new system of education and research in Japan. 

The University is one of the ten Designated National University Corporations and works closely with the neighboring scientific communities and Tsukuba City. In 2022, Tsukuba City was designated as a Super Science City by the national government.

The university community takes advantage of the scientific heritage of the city (to build multidisciplinary, cross-cultural networking opportunities) and enjoys its lush, verdant surroundings. Pedestrian and bicycle paths are lined with trees and connect the university campus, the train station, the research institutions, and parks in the area.

Want to know more about the University of Tsukuba? Download the University of Tsukuba brochure.

*Info adapted from: https://www.tsukuba.ac.jp/en/about/outline-tsukuba/

Inbound Exchange (Students coming to UC Irvine)

What is a bilateral program?

A bilateral program consists of an agreement between UC Irvine and an international university to facilitate mobility between each university’s students for a specific term.  In bilateral programs, UC Irvine and the partnering institution both send and receive students.  Participating students are considered exchange students.

A bilateral exchange program consists of an agreement between UC Irvine and a university overseas to facilitate student mobility between the two institutions during a specific term. In a bilateral exchange program, participating students are enrolled at their home university and continue to pay tuition and fees to their home university.

Enrollment & Fees

Nomination deadlines for Fall semester Partner University nomination to UCI: Due by January 15 for Fall.
Nomination deadlines for Spring semester Partner University nomination to UCI: Due by July 15 for Winter & Spring.
Application deadlines for Fall semester Partner University application to UCI: Due by Feb. 15 for Fall start.
Application deadlines for Spring semester Partner University application to UCI: Due by Aug. 15 for Winter & Spring start.

When a student participates in a bilateral program, they remain fully enrolled at their home institution and pay tuition only to their home university.  While abroad, the exchange student is responsible for paying for their own (on- or off-campus) housing, food, and other expenses.

Length of Term

UC Irvine is on a quarter system.  The academic year runs from September to June.  The Fall Quarter is from September to December, the Winter Quarter is from January to March, and the Spring Quarter is from March to June.

Exchange students can study at UC Irvine for a full academic year, or for one or two quarters.  At this time, exchange students are not eligible to participate in the Summer terms.


Exchange students studying at UC Irvine must either pay for UCSHIP or submit a waiver that, if approved, permits the use of private insurance in lieu of UCSHIP.  There is a deadline to submit a UCSHIP waiver, and applications received after that date will be accompanied by a $50 fee.  For information regarding the UCSHIP waiver deadlines, check the UCI Study Abroad website Important Dates

The UCSHIP fee will be paid on your ZOT Account


Students are responsible for transportation from the airport to UC Irvine.


Dates for enrollment and other important deadlines can be found on the university calendar.  All exchange students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits to maintain full-time enrollment status and comply with their visa requirements.

All exchange students must choose a major during their time at UC Irvine.

Learning agreements from your home university can be verified signed by the Inbound Advisor at the Study Abroad Center.  If you have a learning agreement that needs to be signed, please email a copy to Casie Bonstein at cbonstei@uci.edu


On-campus housing is not guaranteed at UC Irvine, and students are encouraged to apply as early as possible in order to increase their chances of getting a spot.  Most inbound exchange students at UC Irvine live in Arroyo Vista, home to the International House.  This is a themed residence hall designated for international students.  The monthly housing rates and meal plans can be viewed online.